Simple Wahhabi-style burial in unmarked grave for Saudi king who lived in palaces

Mourners gather around the grave of Saudi King Abdullah following his burial in Riyadh January 23, 2015. REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser

(Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, one of the richest men in the history of the world, was carried in a simple white shroud to an unmarked grave on Friday in a Riyadh cemetery where many of his commoner subjects rest, in keeping with ascetic traditions.

The Saudi state school of Wahhabi Sunni Islam holds ostentatious displays of grief or mourning to be sinful, akin to idolatry.

There was no official mourning period in Saudi Arabia and flags around the kingdom all flew at full staff. Despite his apparent popularity among his subjects, there were no spontaneous gatherings on city streets to mark his passing.

Government offices, closed for the Middle East’s normal Friday-Saturday weekend, will open as usual on Sunday.

While the afternoon prayer that preceded Abdullah’s burial took place before ranks of Muslim leaders, Saudi princes, powerful clerics and billionaire Arab businessmen, his body was transported to the mosque in a city ambulance…

Related: Queen Elizabeth II is now the world’s oldest monarch after the death of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia at the age of 90. The Queen is now 88. (Her mother lived to a great age: 1900-2002).

  • Petrilla

    The UK had their flags at half half staff, only ships have half mast. But the UK did this for this tyrant? Prince Charles and John Kerry not let in to the funeral. Why do decent people from decent countries get kicked in the teeth by these barbaric counties. Prince Charles might have said, let the dead kings four daughters after 13 years of imprisonment and torture by their now dead father go free? They have get this ridiculous number 15000 princes and as anyone who knows anything about this gruesome bunch, know that most of the grasping ones will be dead if hey do anything more than buy England and the educAted girls, we’ll let them live, maybe. This bunch of desert warlords are only that. Not to be compared with our Queen. Free the dead kings daughters would go a long way with me.

    • Frau Katze

      From the photo, it appears only Saudis were permitted).

      • Linda1000

        In some pics at DM, there were one or two guys in suits at the funeral prayer in the mosque but likely outsiders wouldn’t go to the grave site? Maybe Westerners or non-muslims cannot go inside Saudi mosques?

        • Martin B

          All of the guys in suits that I could see were foreign Muslim dignitaries (Erdogan for one). Westerners are welcome at the Grand Mosque during hajj, as long as they’re Muslims of course, but the grave site did seem to be for male Saudis only, not even a female camel in sight.

          • Linda1000

            It is my understanding that women are not allowed to go to the grave sites for funerals. I’m not sure about if the deceased is female. I’ll ask my friend. Even in Canada when a male relative dies the muslim women do not go to the actual burial and this seems to be for both Sunni and Shiite. In Saudi because of the segregation of sexes, women would not be at the main funeral prayers at the mosque and definitely not at the grave site. I have no idea why this is the rule or tradition, tho.

      • Frances

        And male type Saudis, as far as I can figure. Who gets to decide which guys wear white and which ones are restricted to black?

        • Frau Katze

          Women not permitted at a male funeral. I’m guessing, but I suspect the close relatives are wearing black. I’ve never seen a Saudi wearing black before.

          • Linda1000

            In winter Gulf Arabs wear different colored thobes, not just white ones as in the pictures some were grey, brown or navy. I’m not sure about Saudis always wearing white but they seem to be a little different in many ways. Normally, the royal family members wear a very fine silk dark cover over their thobes with a real gold-threaded boarder. For this funeral it seems they went just plain white with the red and white head covers which is maybe in keeping for a Wahhabi funeral.

          • Linda1000

            This is the new King Salmon with the cover I’m talking about over his thobe. As far as I know only royal family members wear this gold cover. I’ll have to find the word for it. I see they are going for different coordinating colors these days; becoming quite the fashion hounds.

          • Frau Katze

            Thanks for the info.

  • Yusuf_Al_Kafir

    A simple unmarked, hard to locate grave, to avoid people mourning over him.

    Just as the Narcissist Muhammad preferred during his time.
    Because people mourning their loved ones could be committing idolatry, or taking attention away from the worship of Allah, or, worst of all, have second thoughts about risking their lives in the jihad.

    Nothing can distract from Muhammad and ‘Allah’.
    Friendly dogs included.

    • Frau Katze

      I don’t think it’s in the Koran, or it would be much more widespread. It is definitely a Wahabbi thing ( also note that that ISIS likes to blow up shrines — burial places of well-known religious folk. Sort of like Christian saints but less formal. A lot of them are Shiite. The Shia just love shrines).

      • Linda1000

        I didn’t realize the Wahhabi doctrine would be so strictly applied to even a state leader so no mourning and business as usual. Totally different in the UAE as when the founding President Sheikh Zayed died in 2004, there were several days of mourning in the UAE and even in some other countries like Egypt, Lebanon declared days of mourning.

  • BillyHW

    I’m sure that when the saints go marching in, King Abdullah and Francis of Assisi will be walking arm in arm.

  • tom_billesley

    Unmarked. The upright stones are only there for the relief of passing dogs

    • Blacksmith

      HA I had the same thought about the uprights.